English Rugby
Ex-RFU boss hit by email plot
ESPNscrum Staff
December 6, 2011
Martyn Thomas, Twickenham, England, September 7, 2010
Martyn Thomas has endured a torrid year at the Rugby Football Union © Getty Images

Former Rugby Football Union chairman Martyn Thomas was the victim of a 'dirty tricks campaign' engineered to force his resignation, according to reports.

Thomas resigned from his post as RFU acting chief executive on November 29, but The Times has established that in the midst of calls for Thomas' resignation - in a year where the RFU has endured publicity for all the wrong reasons - an individual set up an e-mail account releasing information stating they had a larger backing for him to stand down than the RFU stated. Market Bosworth RFC originally called for a special general meeting to determine Thomas' fate through e-mail.

The e-mail stated: "The game has lost confidence in Martyn Thomas and resolves that he be required to resign from all RFU executive and non-executive roles with immediate effect. We believe that the resolution will be passed and that once this has occurred the other non-executive directors will reconsider their positions and resign."

Despite needing 100 clubs - out of the 2000 registered to the RFU - to agree to back their proposition, the RFU reported that only 16 came forward. However, in a bid to force the meeting, an e-mail account was established named MKTbosworth@btinternet.com. That account sent e-mails, to both the RFU and the media, suggesting they had in fact 136 clubs behind their proposition for a special general meeting. According to The Times, it was only when the RFU's QC Karena Vleck investigated the discrepancy between the two figures - in conjunction with RFU president Willie Wildash - that the scandal was uncovered.

The secretary of Market Bosworth sent an email to the MKTbosworth address saying: "I have been made aware of two e-mails, 6th and 21st November being sent from your e-mail address, claiming to be from MBRFC. As hon. sec. of MBRFC for the past 12 years, I can confirm that these 'e-mails' sent by you are unauthorised and did not come from MBRFC.

"You appear to be passing yourself off as a representative of MBRFC, but have no connection with the club. We will be taking legal advice to obtain compensation for the damage you have caused."

And councillors from the RFU have reacted with dismay to the latest scandal to engulf the organisation. One email said: "The Union should be very disturbed by the alleged fake email + real email from Market Bosworth RFC. It raises the very disquietening spectre of deception and possibly criminal acts. I would hope the Union's Legal Department examine the whole matter ASAP so that the truth can be aired . . . and that those found guilty are removed from the Union."

The Times reports that the perpetrator has since been unearthed and encouraged to resign but has so far failed to fall on their own sword. And on Monday evening, an RFU spokesman told the newspaper: "Full inquiries were made by the disciplinary officer and a report delivered to the RFU. Council will look into this in due course."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.